I believe there is a phenomenon afoot of which I was neglected to be made part; that of the “Supermom.”
You all know her. Or have heard of her. Or envy her. Or ARE her.
Well, I have a theory. And it involves capes. And a stork. Yes, the baby one. Well, when he dropped my baby off, he forgot my cape! Or maybe they mail it after birth and he lost my address?
I had to turn down an offer of some truly interesting work today and in doing so, I am left seriously lamenting. I wanted so badly to say “YES! Yes, I absolutely can do this in the evening or my off hours and produce results I would be proud to turn in and call my own.” In fact I did say that in one conversation. But despite my wishes, after talking realistically with Dave, I had to backtrack and say “No. No, I can’t accept your interesting offer. And I won’t really tell you why because you don’t need my excuses, you’re busy.”
There is not a chance I could produce anything for research and technical copywriting at this point in my life of which I would be proud. I can barely remember to feed the cats. See, we find ourselves expecting another babe and he has decided to really take a whack at mama. I have been a disaster. Barely functioned through the first trimester. I think Eli was fed most of the time, but he also watched a ton of TV. And during the busiest season of the year, I was hardly able to work at the farm.
The scariest Supermom I envision to compare myself to reads something like this. She’s a farm woman times three. This mom can milk cows with one or five kids running around her feet, pregnant with another, grow a garden, keep it weeded, harvest it, put everything up for the winter, be in the hayfield, bake cookies, and make fresh mozzarella. Or something like that. I am not her. I can manage to bake cookies one day, but it definitely can’t be on the same day I need to milk cows or clean my house. My laundry is NEVER folded or put away. Canning freaks me out, I’m worried I’m going to poison everyone.
The moral of the story is: I know I’m a good mom and I’m raising my son to the very best of my ability. But I also really struggle to keep up with the expectations I hold of myself in this role. As my mom said the other day, when did it stop being enough for a woman to keep a house together, make nourishing food for her family, and raise her children? And I don’t know. I wish for the life of me that it felt like enough for me to do that. But when I put my energy towards Eli and my house, inevitably, my attention to my work flags. I love my work, but I constantly feel guilt because there’s always a split for me and my kids have to win.
I think that nowadays with our ability to quickly share snapshots of our existence to anyone and everyone it’s easy to think you have a full picture of all that is happening with a person’s life. So I thought maybe I’d update everyone with a bit of my backstory. Which is that I spend more than a little time drowning in my failed expectations of myself. And they’re from MYSELF. They don’t come from anybody else. My husband thinks it’s plenty to raise children. He doesn’t expect me to work or even keep a perfect house or cook every night. I DO. I expect that I should be able to blog and write a book eventually and raise healthy polite well-rounded children and keep a garden and make all my own food, oh and learn how to run our farm. Why!?!? Where did these lightly insane expectations come from?
How about you? What do you struggle with? How do you muscle through your expectations of self?